Policy 59 – Reduced Workload to Retirement

The policies found on the website of the Secretariat are compulsory rules for the university community. The authoritative copies of the policies are held by the Secretariat and bear the seal of the university. The online version accessible through the website of the Secretariat is available for information purposes only. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the authoritative copy held by the Secretariat , the authoritative copy shall prevail. Please contact the Secretariat for assistance if necessary.

Established:​ 2 October 1979
Revised: 1 July 2022
Type of revision: Housekeeping
Mandatory Review Date: 20 May 2019
Supersedes: N/A
Class: FS
Responsible/Originating Department: Human Resources
Executive Contact: Vice-President, Academic & Provost

  Related Policies, Guidelines and Procedures:

  1. Policy 3 – Sabbatical and Other Leaves for Faculty Members

  2. Policy 5 – Salary Administration – University Support Staff

  3. Policy 39 – Leaves of Absence for Staff Members

  4. Policy 54 – Definition of Staff

  5. Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments

1. General

Reduced work loads may be of interest to faculty and staff members who wish to reduce the time committed to their University careers in the years prior to retirement [see section 2]. Normally, such arrangements remain in place until retirement.

Reduced workloads in other circumstances are either temporary or are considered a change from full-time to part-time or fractional-load status [see section 3].

Faculty and staff members are strongly advised to consult Human Resources regarding pension and benefits implications in advance of requesting a reduced workload. All University policies continue to apply to those on reduced workload. Leaves of absence for faculty and staff are described in Policies 3 and 39, respectively.

2. Reduced Workload to Retirement

To be eligible to request a reduced workload to retirement arrangement, employees must be at least 45 years of age with completion of at least 10 years of continuous University of Waterloo service in a full-time regular ongoing position, in definite term/temporary consecutive contracts whose lengths are a minimum of one year, or a combination thereof, prior to the commencement of the arrangement. Eligible employees may request a reduction of their daily, weekly, monthly or annual period of work to as low as 50% of that required for a full-time position. Salary is adjusted proportionately to reflect reduction of work. Approved leaves of absence, temporary reduced workloads, maternity/parental leaves and sick leave/LTD are not deemed as interruptions in service for purposes of this policy.

Reduced workload to retirement arrangements can be for a maximum of 17 years, or to the person’s 71st birthday, whichever comes first. A retirement date that is mutually agreeable to the employee and his or her department head must be established as part of the arrangement.

Requests for such arrangements must be recommended in writing via the appropriate administrative chain to the Vice-President, Academic & Provost for approval. Before the Vice-President, Academic & Provost level, requests not granted at one level may be appealed to the next higher level. If not granted, an individual is entitled to receive a written explanation of the decision, if so requested.

Before a reduced workload to retirement is approved, Human Resources will confirm details of the arrangement in writing to the faculty or staff member and to the department; expectations under the arrangement will be specified in a revised appointment letter. Mutual agreement by the faculty or staff member and the university is required for any change to a reduced workload to retirement.

Note: special pension and benefits arrangements, as outlined below, are available for approved reduced workloads to retirement. Cost sharing arrangements will be adjusted to match those for full-time appointments.

  • Pension participation based on nominal full-time salary subject to Canada Revenue Agency limitations on the accumulation of pension service credit for time not worked. This legislation allows an employee to earn up to five years of pension credit (plus up to three years additional credit for pregnancy leaves) for periods of reduced pay or temporary absences. This applies to any situation following 1 January 1992 in which an employee contributes to the Pension Plan at her/his nominal full-time salary and the actual salary received is a lesser amount. Sabbaticals, unpaid leaves, reduced workloads and layoffs are included in this calculation.
  • Extended Health Care and Dental coverage as if full-time.
  • Life Insurance premiums and benefits based on nominal full-time salary.
  • Vacation, sick leave as well as Long Term Disability premiums and benefits will be based on actual salary and reduced workload time commitment.
  • Paid holidays paid only on scheduled work days subject to Employment Standards regulations.
  • Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance and Workers' Compensation available according to government regulations.

3. Other (Temporary) Reduced Workload Arrangements

Staff or faculty members who wish to devote increased time to family or other outside interests during a portion of their careers may apply to reduce their daily, weekly, monthly or annual period of work to as low as 50% of that for a full-time position. Normally, such arrangements will be considered for approval for a period of at most two years but may be extended by mutual agreement to a maximum of four years in total. Continuation beyond four years will normally be on a fractional-load (see Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments) or regular part-time appointment (see Policy 54 – Definition of Staff).

A request for a temporary reduced workload will be assessed on its benefits to the employee and the university. Written approval must be given (with a copy to Human Resources) by the faculty or staff member's supervisor and department head and, where the period exceeds four calendar months, by the appropriate senior administrative officer (e.g., Dean or Associate Provost).

Similarly, approval as noted above is required if a faculty or staff member wants to increase her/his workload before the expiration of the reduced workload arrangement. Note however, that the university has the right to require an increase in workload and/or return to full-time employment with the provision of at least three month's written notice.

During a temporary reduced workload arrangement, benefits other than pension, sick leave and long term disability (LTD) are the same as for full-time appointments. Pensions may be based on nominal salary subject to limits established by the Canada Revenue Agency. The LTD premium is based on nominal salary; the LTD benefit is based on actual salary until the end of the approved temporary reduced workload arrangement, and then on nominal salary.